Our BLOG

BlackBerry and the Death of the Business Device

Last week, BlackBerry reported a dreadful fourth quarter, showing a net loss of $125 million. This prompted RIM, among other moves, to release a statement promising to focus more fully on the business consumer. If this was 2005, it would be an absolute no brainer. Enterprise solutions are what made BlackBerry a household name before they unsuccessfully tried their hand at the consumer market, so why wouldn't refocusing on enterprise save them now? The trouble is that since BlackBerry put smartphones on the map with their business-friendly offerings, they've been consistently leapfrogged by other manufacturers and operating platforms. And because both iOS, Android and even Windows phones have become ubiquitous in the business world, it's going to be extremely hard to regain that market. Redefining "The Business Consumer" BlackBerry's new focus on the "business consumer" may fall on deaf ears because, let's face it, when it comes to smartphone users, there's really no such thing as a strictly "business consumer" anymore. We have our devices on us at all times, and the typical user is looking for something that addresses both business needs and the need to smash pigs with disgruntled birds or Draw Something. So even though BlackBerry's ads want us to believe that anything outside of the BlackBerry operating system is a "toy," it's simply not true. There is a feeling that BlackBerry does have a leg up on the competition when it comes to network security, but since the other platforms have become more adopted in the corporate world, it won't be long before it's an equal playing field, and some may argue iOS is already there. And it's unfortunate that one of BlackBerry's so-called brand differentiators at the moment is the physical keyboard. While they hands down have the best physical keyboards, we've become very accustomed to writing emails with a touchscreen, and those who haven't have a handful of Android and Windows phones to choose from that feature more than capable physical keyboards. Creating handsets specifically for "The Business Consumer" also assumes that BlackBerry is going to be able to create devices that are going to be so superior at "business" solutions, that people will carry one of them for work, and then go back to using their "plaything" Androids and iPhones when they leave the office. Raise your hand if that sounds ideal to you. No one? Okay, moving on. The App Playground I have both an Android handset and an iPad. I like both of them for different reasons and think they both excel at different things. The truth is, and this might cause a bit of an uproar among Apple and Android fanboys, iOS and Android devices aren't all that different. Sure, there are differences in connection speeds, processor speeds, battery life, screen resolution, other surface level things but the overall form and functionality are similar enough. They're sleek, slim, glossy, utilize touch-screens, are great for surfing the web and are more than sufficient for answering work emails or viewing documents on the go. This is mainly the reason that everyone's suing each other over patent infringements. When smartphones came out, it was the features that set handsets apart. Now, the base features that are shipped with the device are only the beginning and are pretty standard. It's the apps that truly run the show. You buy a handset and the apps that you put on it define whether your device is business-focused, consumer-focused, or a bit of a mixture of both. Just because you have an iOS or Android device doesn't pin you as a "consumer" anymore as there are a number of solutions on both the iOS and Android platforms which make it easy for any of their devices to cater to the business user. And the fact that the number of apps on both Android and iOS outnumber BlackBerry by about 700,000, the chances are that the business user is probably better catered by the two former. What's Next for BlackBerry In short, the outlook is bleak. BlackBerry's lack of innovation over the past 5+ years compared to their competition shouldn't give anyone a good feeling that they know how to right the ship. But all is not lost. What's that saying about the first step to getting help being able to admit you have a problem? They know they have to do something radical to improve things, and it looks like they're making moves in the right direction. They're also close to launching their new operating system, BlackBerry 10 and some leaked photos of the new system are getting some people excited. However, by the time it reaches the market, iPhone 5 will be out and it may be too late. If BlackBerry 10 fails to turn things around, will they be out of options? A colleague of mine suggested that if that happens, the only remaining option might be to kill the operating platform, use their skills at creating business-focused devices, and focus solely on making the hardware for another platform. Would love to hear any thoughts on how you feel BlackBerry will be able to get back on their feet in our comments section below.

Guest Blogger: College Senior, Jon ' 'Thanks for my degree, now what???'?

This month's guest blogger is a member of one of the most sought after consumer demographics ' a college student. We spoke with Jon, who is 22 years old, and currently finishing up his senior year at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. Here are his responses to the questions we asked him: 1. What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be? I would like to think that I buy what I need when I need it, but that doesn't usually end up being the case.  I'll admit, I also fall victim to many fads and desperately can't wait until I can get my hands on newer products. After I buy something that's 'in'? I get tired of it and want the newest version of it when it comes out. There's always room for improvement, but unfortunately my bank account can't keep up. 2. What do you look for in the brands you use? Usability for sure. Why buy something that won't do what you need it to do?  It also depends on what it is I am buying. I couldn't care less who makes my clothes or what shampoo will give me the most nutrients or whatever. The brands of my big kid toys matter to me: MP3 players, cameras, TVs ' you don't mess around with that stuff. If I'm going to drop a couple hundred on something, it better be best in class. 3. Which brand do you feel best describes your personality? Why? I'd say that Apple would best describe my personality for a few reasons. First off, Apple is always looking to improve its products based on feedback on previous products. Like that, I like to think that I learn and grow from my personal experiences to continuously change how I live my life. If I were an Apple product, I'd probably be iTunes. I'm fun and outgoing and love to have a good time. And plus, who doesn't love their iTunes??? 4. What is one thing you could not live without? I'm obsessed with my BlackBerry. It keeps me connected to everything in my life. I've got my Facebook and Twitter at my fingertips to let me know what my friends are up to. I can keep up with the Red Sox and the rollercoaster ride of emotions they put me through every season. It even has a pretty decent camera to take pics of those random moments that need to be captured. Oh, and I don't own a watch so it tells me what time it is too. I'd be so lost without my BlackBerry. 5. What is your biggest concern as you prepare to finish up college? I am lucky enough to have landed a job right out of college. The biggest problem I think I will face will be handling my money. The paychecks I will be getting every two weeks will be the biggest checks I have ever been given. I have to prepare myself to not get in the habit of spending so frivolously. I'm going to have to budget for rent, bills, and food first no matter what. Something tells me that's easier said than done though. 6. What will you miss most about college? In the time I've been at college, I have grown extremely close so my group of friends. Every year at the end of the year, we've had the comfort of knowing that come September we would see each other again for another year of shenanigans. This time it's completely different. We're all from all over the country and we won't be able to see each other as often as we would like since we're all starting our careers. It's going to be difficult dealing with not having my closest friends around me all the time. 7. Do you anticipate the brands/products you use will change after college? Why/why not? After college I know I'll have to manage my money way better and with that, the stuff I buy may change as well. While I don't pay attention to the brands I buy for little things like detergent, paper towels, or toothpaste, I may need to look at brands besides the big names for luxury items in my life. I mean, maybe Apple products aren't all they're cipro purchase online hyped up to be? 8. What advice would you give to an incoming freshman who will be living away from home for the first time? Buy in bulk as much as you can by joining a wholesale club. I got a Costco membership my freshman year of college and have been so glad I did ever since. They legit have EVERYTHING you will need to survive in college: plasticware, solos cups, toilet paper, late night food snacks, ramen, you name it they probably have it and a lot of it to offer. It will save you many trips to the regular store and money too. 9. If you had a million dollars, what would you buy? If I had a million bucks, the very first thing I'd get is a sick penthouse overlooking a city. It wouldn't have to be in Boston just in a city somewhere. I'd fill it with tons of cool gadgets and electronics too, like huge TVs and stereo systems, the works. I'd also have to get a car since I'm currently lacking one and wouldn't mind just having one to drive around in, maybe two. With whatever's left I'll try to get rid of some student loans, but definitely the penthouse and car(s) first. 10. What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life? The most important thing I have done in my life is gone away for college. It's a wild world out there and I think college is an essential transition period to ease the changeover to the real world. That small amount of independence has helped me learn to manage my time and my money better than I could have if I didn't go away for school. The last four years have been the best ones yet and I am happy I experienced them.

Mobile Browser vs. the App and Me ' A Love Triangle

v:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} --> A recent Adweek article, 'Do Mobile Users Prefer Browsers Over Apps?'? piqued my interest about the pros and cons of viewing different media on mobile browsers vs. viewing the same media on specific apps on their mobile phones. I began evaluating my own mobile phone behavior - do I prefer a mobile browser to an app? When do I decide to download an app instead of view the website on a mobile browser? Are there sites that I view on both my mobile browser and in an app format? My personal app library includes only a handful of my most trusted and useful applications: Gmail, Facebook, Weather, Pandora & Skype Mobile ' The newest music, connecting with family & friends, and knowing if I should pack an umbrella for my morning commute are important to me, thus I downloaded the apps. Some tech savvy people have a wider array of apps for variety of different mobile needs ' social media, games, and local apps. However, it's clear that the quantity and specific type of application downloaded varies by each individual person's needs and interests.  There are many websites and services that consumers find more useful in mobile app format, versus a mobile browser ' for example social media sites, music & games. This is illustrated by the Adobe Mobile Experience survey. However, today's mobile browsers (whether you have an Android, Blackberry or iPhone) are often better suited for consumers' needs. While I commonly use the Facebook application, I sometimes switch to my mobile browser when the app leaves something to be desired. For example, when using the Android Facebook app, users can't see who 'likes'? their status (only how many people 'like'? them), notifications are downloaded only every 30 minutes, and users must go to the mobile site to read/respond to a notification. Although these are minor drawbacks, they are reasons that an Android user such as myself would have to switch to their mobile browser to view their Facebook page, in addition to using the app. Although the Android Facebook app is not perfect ' I always view my Facebook profile through the app first, and if I crave something more, I move on to my mobile browser. This proves that the mobile application provides more advantages than disadvantages for me. However, I prefer to use my mobile browser for the majority of my online web surfing needs, such as shopping and the news. With the various advantages & disadvantages of every unique app, brands should evaluate their target market's mobile phone behavior before investing in app development, since it is easy and sometimes more convenient for consumers to view content via their mobile browser. Title: Mobile Browser vs. the App and Me ' A Love Triangle   A recent Adweek article, 'Do Mobile Users Prefer Browsers Over Apps?'? piqued my interest about the pros and cons of viewing different media on mobile browsers vs. viewing the same media on specific apps on their mobile phones.I began evaluating my own mobile phone behavior-do I prefer a mobile browser to an app?When do I decide to download an app instead of view the website on a mobile browser? Are there sites that I view on both my mobile browser and in an app format? My personal app library includes only a handful of my most trusted and useful applications: Gmail, Facebook, Weather, Pandora & Skype Mobile ' The newest music, connecting with family & friends, and knowing if I should pack an umbrella for my morning commute are important to me, thus I downloaded the apps.Some tech savvy people have a wide array of apps for variety of different mobile needs' social media, games, and local apps. However, it's clear that the quantity and specific type of application downloaded varies by each individual person's needs and interests.There are many websites and services that consumers find more useful in mobile app format, versus a mobile browser ' for example social media sites, music & games. This is illustrated by the Adobe Mobile Experience survey. However, today's mobile browsers (whether you have an Android, Blackberry or iPhone) are often better suited for the consumers' needs.While I commonly use the Facebook application, I sometimes switch to my mobile browser when the app leaves something to be desired. For example, when using the Android Facebook app, users can't see who 'likes'? their status (only how many people 'like'? them), notifications are downloaded onlyevery 30 minutes, and users must go to the mobile site to read/respond to a notification.Although these are minor drawbacks, they are reasons that an Android user such as myself would have to switch to their mobile browser to view their Facebook page, in addition to using the app. Although the Android Facebook app is not perfect ' I always view my Facebook profile through the app first, and if I crave something more, I move on to my mobile browser. This proves that the mobile application provides more advantages than disadvantages for me. However, I prefer to use my mobile browser for the majority of my online web surfing needs, such as shopping and the news. With the various advantages & disadvantages of every unique app, brands should evaluate their target market's mobile phone behavior before investing in app development, since it is easy and sometimes more convenient for consumers to view content via their mobile browser. Tag: http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/digital/e3i5094e406e415c280a20521b39297a826

The Pulse - Tech Savvy Consumers

Every month we survey our Pulse Network, a network of over 10,000 milllennials. We had responses from over 100 students (high school and college) and here is what we learned this month. With smartphones becoming more prevalent and popular, we wanted to get a sense of how students feel about these new gadgets and what they thought were the biggest benefits of having one. While the majority of students know what a smartphone is, only 26% of the respondents own one. Students have limited budgets and during these harder economic times, not all parents can afford to go out and buy the latest and greatest technology. While only a few have smartphones, the features and applications that are offered with the smartphone are very appealing. The ability to check email and browse the internet are the biggest benefits to students. We asked all respondents the following question. What are some reasons you purchased a smartphone or want to purchase one? '?¢ 61% stated I can access my email and internet '?¢ 51% stated I can play music on it '?¢ 50% stated I can take pictures with it '?¢ 42% stated it's a mini-computer '?¢ 41% stated it has a touch screen '?¢ 41% stated I can view video clips '?¢ 38% stated it has a miniature keyboard '?¢ 12% stated I don't think there is anything really special with it That said, the feature they would use the most is the internet. Students want to get information instantaneously, so having the internet at their disposal has high appeal. What smartphone feature you would use the most? '?¢ 44% Internet '?¢ 23% Music '?¢ 17% Email '?¢ 8% Pictures '?¢ 1% Video In terms of brand choice, Apple is the top rated among students if they were to purchase a smartphone, followed by the BlackBerry.

    Related Posts